Gangmasters Licensing Authority reforms "will make it easier for rogue gangmasters", says Sainsbury's boss

Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King has written that he is "concerned that the proposed reforms the the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) will severely weaken the organisation".

Justin King - image: J Sainsbury
Justin King - image: J Sainsbury

The government intends that, under reforms to the licensing body, the number of compliance visits to food industry workplaces should be cut, and that businesses applying for a gangmasters licence should no longer be subject to face-to-face interviews.

But in a letter to sent to Labour MP Michael Connarty, who is promoting a private member's bill to force large companies to carry out ethic audits of theeir supply chains, King said that these changes "will make it easier for rogue gangmasters to operate in the sector and will mean that vulnerable workers are more likely to be mistreated".

GLA chief executive Paul Broadbent told BBC Radio 4's World At One yesterday (11 March): "There is no substitute for sitting across a table and weighing that person up, but have we got the resources to do that on every occasion? It's debateable."

Farming minister Daid Heath said that workers would be better protected under the reforms, as inspectors would be freed up to clamp down on high-risk criminal labour.


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